Saturday 29 December 2012

ASLs - A Failure of Policing

We've all seen them - the people driving motor vehicles who ignore the advance stop lines which are meant to give people on bicycles some chance of getting away safely at traffic lights.

In fact in Manchester you see them almost every day.

Well thanks to a recent Freedom of Information request by Tom Jeffs we now know why so many drivers feel free to ignore them...

It turns out that between 1/1/2011 and 1/1/2012 Greater Manchester Police issued no fixed penalties or summons for driving into an ASL when the lights were red. None whatsoever!

At this point one also starts to wonder if the same is true for red light running and blocking box junctions.....


  1. This is interesting. An offence which is regularly and very visibly committed, but which no-one is ever charged with.

    A couple of years ago I attended a presentation given by a member of GMP to some international students who had just arrived in Manchester to study here. The officer asked if anyone was planning on cycling while in Manchester and no-one put their hands up. He warned them anyway, that if they did change their mind and choose to ride a bike here, they definitely shouldn't ride on the pavements, because pavement cycling is illegal and the police are (were?) cracking down on it along Oxford Road.

    None of it was very welcoming, and I wonder how many fixed penalty notices were issued for pavement cycling in Manchester last year?

    If more have been issued for that than for ASL hopping - i.e. one or more - I can only guess the reason given might have something to do with it being an issue which is more frequently complained about. And to be fair, as much as I dislike drivers sitting in the "green box" I've never complained about it, either in general or about a specific incident. Maybe we should be more vocal about the issue up front, as this would give more leverage to ask what had been done about it subsequently?

  2. Really glad I found this article. Yesterday 11th Feb GMP were carrying out spot checks on cyclists around Oxford Road issuing fix penalty notices for any infringement of the highway code. I received one for as I understand it positioning my bike ahead of the white line (going through a red light) after a bus had completely blocked the green box. Totally bizarre. As I understand it the law regarding drivers being in the green box is very flakely: if a driver is alreayd passing through a light and it changes and then are are stuck in it no offence has been committed. A driver would need to travel ontot he greenbox and be seen to do so by an officer after the light had changed for an offence to be committed.

    1. And the bus rivers do it all the time!

    2. Out of interest, have you paid the fixed penalty?

  3. Was at a Cycle Forum at Salford City Council last week and the two GMP reps there said that much of the non-issuing of PCNs for drivers who abuse the ASLs is attributable to two things: 1) the ASLs are not mandatory but rather are "non-mandatory" and that 2) most of the the ASL boxes are not suitably maintained or painted well enough to conform to legally desired standards . Well you make your own mind up but as for point 1) ff. here Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10, 36(1) & 43(2) Clearly mandatory and heavy use of the word "MUST" in bold capitalized type on the Government's own website. As for point 2) I see no mention of this anywhere in my research and differing reports of such vague claims by different members of GMP I have asked. If anyone could bring me up ti speed (no pun intended) here then I would greatly appreciate it. I think that the lack of clarity and knowledge gaps are not just with many drivers but also extend to those with whom we entrust to enforce these rules of the road and protect us. Otherwise, at the very least on a financial basis Local Authorities are wasting huge amounts of public money painting these boxes with no joint-up data collation between them and the police of how successful they actually are and even if they do collate 'some data' it will be hardly representative and accurate reflection of their efficacy.